Tired, Sweaty, Sore

  • March 19, 2017
  • Posted by Ryn Briggs

I am tired, sweaty, and sore. For the past three days, 16 of my fellow crew leaders and I took our first steps out of the classroom to start the physical aspect of our service. We gathered before sunrise each day and drove down the meandering Bitterroot making our way to a tucked away 4 acre plot in Hamilton, MT.  Thick Ponderosa Pines and Douglas Firs covered the sloping landscape in every direction except to the east, where the earth inclines just enough to expose the snow covered tops of the gorgeous Sapphire mountains. It felt strangely secluded on the top of that hill side, even though I knew there were cabins close by.

For the past three days we felt rain, hail, and thrilling moments of clear sky’s which allowed the sun to make its rare appearance through the thick grey gloom that rests over this valley all winter. I rolled up my sleeves to let it shine on my pale arms and stood fixed on restoring sensation. We were all thrilled to be outside!

For the past three days learning techniques to buck a tree came with sporadic feelings of embarrassment, delight, and uneasiness. For my first attempt to buck a tree I would timidly approach each log, staring at it, trying to figure it out. Over and over again I made mistakes. I put on the chain break while the chain continued to turn, I pinched my saw between two logs, and I let the tip of my saw dip into the ground dulling my blade.

For the past three days I was asked to reflect on my performance and to think about what I would like to improve. My list was long, but eventually I built up good habits and learned more efficient ways to handle my saw. Over time I discovered how to have the chainsaw work for me; allowing me to move faster and move more efficiently.

For the past three days I became more confident with this tool and learned valuable skills that I will continue to develop throughout my service. I left this hillside better than when I arrived and delighted to be tired, sweaty, and sore.


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